SEATTLE — City Light customers only have a few more days to comment on an opt-out policy as the utility converts to advanced meters.
The conversion takes place in the coming year, and a spokesperson for City Light said it will help put customers in control.
“We’re going to put more information in our customers’ hands so they can monitor on a daily basis, or as often as they want, what their energy consumption is and what that’s costing them,” said Scott Thomsen with Seattle City Light.
However, not everyone sees the benefits of so-called smart meters.
“What’s really at risk here is your basic fundamental rights of privacy in your own home,” said Josh del Sol, who directed a documentary called “Take Back Your Power” that points to a long list of concerns.
The film cites health complications and sudden fires – as well as privacy issues – if smart meters are capable of tracking customers’ habits at home and when they come and go.
City Light offers assurances that won’t be the case.
“It’s going to be fully encrypted,” Thomsen said. “It goes to City Light. We protect our customer’s information and we don’t share it with anybody else.”
For those uncomfortable with the technology, City Light is offering an opt-out so long as customers pay an extra $15.47 with each bill.
“They are actually wanting to charge an opt out fee for something that essentially violates your rights,” del Sol said.
City Light is accepting feedback on its draft opt-out plan through the close of business on Monday, August 15. Del Sol said he will make his documentary available to view for free through the weekend.